Why Humanities-Speak Is So Incomprehensible

A computer engineer goes to a humanities conferene to give a presentation and comes away baffled by the other speeches. “I think it’s human nature for members of any group to use the ideas they have in common as metaphors for everything else in life, so I’m willing to forgive him. The really telling factor that neither side of the debate seems to cotton to, however, is this: technical people like me work in a commercial environment. Every day I have to explain what I do to people who are different from me – marketing people, technical writers, my boss, my investors, my customers – none of whom belong to my profession or share my technical background or knowledge. As a consequence, I’m constantly forced to describe what I know in terms that other people can at least begin to understand. Contrast this situation with that of academia…”